Kirkby-based Me2u Centre is calling for businesses in the Liverpool City Region to join with them and the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) to support Dementia-Friendly December, to raise awareness around the condition and highlight ways we can better care for those in our community living with dementia.
With Christmas just around the corner, there are a number of triggers that can affect someone living with dementia, such as too much food, unfamiliar decorations and overcrowding. Working with the DAA, Dementia-Friendly December aims to highlight businesses who are being inclusive and holding dementia-friendly or relaxed events across the city region.
And this does not mean having to prioritise dementia over other conditions or disabilities, because when a business gets it right for people with dementia, it gets it right for many groups of customers.
Improving accessibility for the whole community means that others will benefit too, and changes such as having clear signage, easily recognisable members of staff, or providing a quiet space, will be appreciated by everyone.
Any venues taking part in Dementia-Friendly December will be listed on the Me2u Centre website, and staff from Me2U can offer support and advice at events if required.
Speaking about what Dementia-Friendly December would mean to her clients, director of the Me2u Centre, Rosie Whittingon, said, “December is particularly difficult for elderly people and especially those living with dementia. Creating inclusive venues and events gives them and their carers a sense of belonging when ordinarily they might feel excluded because of various triggers.
“At Me2U, we recognise that people living with dementia like familiarity, so we use very traditional decorations. We keep activities simple, like making Christmas cards for their loved ones.
“As a nation, we love to overindulge at Christmas, but a full plate can be overwhelming for someone living with dementia. And as the family comes together to celebrate, we’re reminded of those who are missing, which can be confusing for those with dementia and they can relive the loss.
“My advice this season is to be patient, keep it simple and familiar, and be inclusive.”
Ways in which businesses can become more dementia-friendly include:
- Making sure doors and walkways are clearly marked. If a sudden change in the flooring is unavoidable, consider placing a staff member there to assist
- Keep your venue light and bright with diffused lighting. Avoid glaring spotlights or lighting of different colours and shades. Let your guests know of any lighting that is on a timer, or motion activated (i.e. in bathrooms)
- Consider introducing additional temporary signage that is at eye level, e.g. exit signs on the inside of bathrooms, black lettering on a white background, lowercase lettering in a larger, simpler font, using symbols alongside wording, and providing information and maps beforehand to help guests plan in advance
- Keep your entrance and transition spaces calm and quiet, make sure everyone is settled before your event starts, introduce the event and indicate any parts that might cause overstimulation, and consider having a quiet seating area where people with dementia can take ‘time out’
To express your interest in taking part in Dementia-Friendly December, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org